So. You’ve had your results. You’re either celebrating or commiserating. But, no matter whether your results went the way you wanted or they didn’t, you’re still not sure what you want to do with your education next. I’m going to give you a quick insight into my thoughts when I left school and the route I’ve taken since then.
Results Day – Thurs 21st August 2014
I was nervous, to say the least, with my hopes and dreams of being a Sports Physiotherapist hanging by a thread. Going to sleep feeling fine and waking up the next morning wishing that today will always stay as tomorrow. There was a part of me that didn’t want to know the results because I didn’t want to be a disappointment to my family and to myself. But, like every other 16 year old in the country, it was time to face the music.
The short walk around the corner to school made me feel like I was the secret third member of The Proclaimers, and that I was walking 500 miles. Walked through the school gates, seeing all my classmates having a laugh, all enjoying one of the most momentous days in their lives. I went to collect the papers, feeling sick to the stomach, so sick that I couldn’t even open them myself. I walked home, completely zoned out, ignoring the world around me. I got home and immediately passed the white envelope over to my mum and told her to open it. As she drew the paper out, an inch at a time, I saw her eyes start to water and I could just feel the disappointment double in weight on my shoulders. I felt like I’d let everyone that ever helped me down, and wanted to be by myself for a very long time.
The tears in her eyes weren’t tears of disappointment. Or sadness. They were tears of joy and happiness, the immense feeling of relief and pride was clear to see. She ran and hugged me and told me how I’d done, but the feeling was almost bittersweet. I got 4 C’s in Maths and a C and B in English, when I was predicted D’s in both. I was over the moon about that, but I didn’t match the requirements in P.E and Chemistry to become a Sports Physio. I didn’t know what to think. So I had to reassess my options.
Apprenticeship and Course Fair, Nottingham
On the Saturday after I collected my results, me and my mum headed into Nottingham to see what my next educational step could be. I needed options and help, and a lot of it. There were many stalls showcasing what each of these companies and colleges had to offer the next batch of youngsters, and none of them caught my eye, I just wasn’t bothered. I picked up the odd leaflet or booklet here and there, but nothing got my pulses racing. So when I got home I had a flick through my stash of information and found a booklet I’d collected from NCN (New College Nottingham). They were talking about media and graphic design, which I have never shown an interest in, never did it at school and never even thought about. Maybe I was being too tunnel-visioned on becoming a Sports Physiotherapist that I never kept my options open? I thought maybe I should try something completely different and try something new. I’m not usually one to jump into a decision, but I went for it regardless, I wanted a change.
NCN Adams Building, Nottingham
The course included many different topics, from web design and coding, character design, and rebranding, which was my favourite. I loved every moment of my college course. I learnt things that I never even knew existed, practised on software I’d never seen before and picked up skills that none of my friends had. I met a lot of wonderful people and my confidence dramatically improved, and it all stood me in great stead for my next step in life, my apprenticeship.
The government introduced a scheme which means that young people now have to stay in full-time education until they are 18 years old, which then meant I had to go through the process of finding what to do next all over again. The only difference was that this time, I knew what I wanted to do, and I had the right grades and portfolio to do it.
Learning Unlimited and Fifteen
I applied for the role of Production Co-Ordinator at Fifteen Design through an apprenticeship agency called Learning Unlimited. I applied, and got an interview straight away! I wasn’t nervous for this, unlike the GCSE results because I’d already proved what I can do and have the evidence to back me up. So, the interview went well and I got invited for an official interview here at Fifteen, and I got the job! Almost 3 months later I’m growing into the role and loving every single moment of it. Apprenticeships don’t have the pressure of full-time work because they aren’t expecting you to be an expert, that’s the whole point of an apprenticeship, to learn. You also get the added bonus of earning whilst you are learning, which also can help you with one of the biggest life lessons of all, budgeting!
So, what next for you?
Of course, it is personal preference and also based on what is on offer. But in my opinion, if you get the GCSE results you want, get an apprenticeship, 100%. However, if you don’t get the results you wish for, then always reconsider your options, and ALWAYS have something to fall back on. Go for a college course to prove that you can get the grades in whatever it is that you want to do. One thing that college can give you that GCSE’s can’t is a portfolio or evidence of what you can do. Getting this evidence and experience puts you in an even better position for an apprenticeship or even the world of work in general.
If anyone is interested in the world of marketing or accounting, we are looking for an apprentice to join our growing team!
I hope everyone gets the results they were hoping for, just remember to keep your options open.